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Ketamine was initially developed as an anesthetic; it received FDA approval for this use in 1970. In 2006, a landmark study on the use of ketamine in treating depression was published by the National Institute of Mental Health. The study revealed that a single intravenous dose of ketamine produced “robust and rapid antidepressant effects” within just a few hours.
Since then, several other studies (including this May 2016 study) have shown similar findings. As a result, a growing number of physicians across the country are turning to ketamine to provide a potentially life-changing solution for people in need of rapid relief from depression and severe anxiety. Also, a May 2017 study found that FDA data support ketamine as a depression therapy.
More recently, studies on the use of the esketamine nasal spray (SPRAVATO) have shown the efficacy of that treatment:
- Intranasal Esketamine (SpravatoTM) for Use in Treatment-Resistant Depression In Conjunction With an Oral Antidepressant
- A Study of Intranasal Esketamine Plus an Oral Antidepressant for Relapse Prevention in Adult Participants With Treatment-resistant Depression (SUSTAIN-1)
Several articles have been published about the use of ketamine to treat depression, including:
- Nasal Spray is a New Antidepressant Option for People at High Risk of Suicide (NPR)
- Ketamine for Severe Depression (NPR)
- Antidepressant Ketamine May Be More Effective Than Electroconvulsive Therapy (FOX News)
- Party Drug Ketamine Closer to Approval for Depression (CNN)
- Onetime Party Drug Hailed as Miracle for Treating Severe Depression (The Washington Post)
How ketamine works
Ketamine works differently than standard depression medications (like Prozac, Zoloft and others) by NMDA receptor modulation as a novel mechanism for accelerated improvement in severe and chronic forms of depression.
In addition to ketamine’s ability to help some depression sufferers when other medications have failed, ketamine also acts much faster than standard antidepressants. In fact, patients may find significant improvement in depression symptoms within hours of a ketamine dose — versus weeks or months with other antidepressants.
Your treatment options
Iowa Ketamine offers two types of ketamine treatment: nasal-spray esketamine treatment (SPRAVATO) and intravenous (I/V) ketamine treatment.